Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "What an interesting assumption." => Topic started by: LyanneB1 on September 24, 2009, 01:02:25 PM

Title: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: LyanneB1 on September 24, 2009, 01:02:25 PM
This is not my assumption!

I work in a preschool and one of the little girls does ballet at the weekends, as does her elder sister.  Preschool girl is 3 years, elder sis is 7 years, so both pretty young, and their mum stays and watches the classes.

I was passing casual conversation with the mum and asked how the girls were getting on at ballet.

Oh, they are so fantastic and wonderfully talented dancers (hmm, the cynic in me thinks many parents think that about their children, whatever the hobby  ;) ).  But if they weren't good at ballet, the mum wouldn't have them keep going.  She just doesn't understand these mums who send their daughters to ballet when they're not good at it, why do they just keep going every week.

I managed to say politely 'Oh, I suppose it's good exercise and if they enjoy it, that's the important thing...', which got the clarification, she is not talking about children who do not appear to enjoy the classes but are there solely to fulfil maternal aspirations, she really thinks it should only be for those who are outstanding dancers.  At 7 and 3 years. 

My town has several ballet schools and I'm sure they're pretty reasonable schools, but we're hardly talking White Lodge here!  (UK's Royal Ballet School's schoolhttp://www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk/premises.php?s=3 (http://www.royal-ballet-school.org.uk/premises.php?s=3)
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: thebeckster on September 24, 2009, 01:23:15 PM
I had ballet for over 10 years, as did both of my sisters. My mother once told me she sent us in part to help with our posture (it worked).

I had a ballet teacher who once criticized the entire class as being "too heavy" for ballet except for 1 girl who was about 4 and a half feet tall and 75 pounds. We all looked at her like she was crazy. We didn't want to be dancers, we wanted to exercise.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: HeebyJeebyLeebee on September 24, 2009, 01:54:45 PM
Even if a child is terrible at ballet (like I was), it's still a great way to make friends, get exercise, and learn posture, discipline (age appropriate), team work and coordination.

And ya know what, even though I learned I prefered jazz (and wasn't too hot at that either), I had fun!  And I got to dress up in cool costumes for the recital!  I loved that costume. 
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Bluenomi on September 24, 2009, 07:43:15 PM
Hasn't she heard of the saying pratice makes perfect? Everyone has to start somewhere.

I don't think children should be forced to do classes if they don't like it but if they are having fun they should be able to do it not matter how good or bad they are. At 7 and 3 years old most kids are going it for fun.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Jocelyn on September 25, 2009, 03:35:55 PM
My sister says, 'If it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly.'
Think about it...if you really enjoy an activity, why does it matter whether you're good at it? Kids do things just for the fun of it; I've never met a 4 year old who didn't like to color. But by the time they're 12, they've learned that if you aren't good at drawing, you shouldn't do it, even if you like doing it. That creation and performance are only for the stars.
Sad, when you really think about it. I love my sister's motto.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: HeebyJeebyLeebee on September 25, 2009, 03:39:30 PM
My sister says, 'If it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly.'
Think about it...if you really enjoy an activity, why does it matter whether you're good at it? Kids do things just for the fun of it; I've never met a 4 year old who didn't like to color. But by the time they're 12, they've learned that if you aren't good at drawing, you shouldn't do it, even if you like doing it. That creation and performance are only for the stars.
Sad, when you really think about it. I love my sister's motto.

I love that attitude!

When I starting crocheting, my work looked terrible!  Didn't stop me.  (I got better)  Now I'm trying my hand at knitting.  It's even worse than my early crochet projects.  I still enjoy it.  So even if I never get any better, it's still fun for me. 

(I can't draw either, but I love drawing with my nieces.  Crayons are so much fun!)
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Cherry on September 25, 2009, 06:33:02 PM
I took ballet and jazz dance at a wonderful studio where dance was for serious dancers and those taking dance as a hobby (me). I love ballet, miss the studio (we moved away from the area), and plan to take it up again when I'm older. I couldn't do Pointe due to tight tendons in my feet, but I don't care if I have to stay in ballet slippers forever- I just want to dance! :)

Dance should be done for fun. Just because girls in the class aren't dancing well, having fun is important. If they're having fun, that's most likely why they're in the class!

Ballet requires a lot of practice, and it's good to start at an early age if you want to do Pointe. Girls under ten years of age are still toughening up their feet and practicing basic moves.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: LyanneB1 on September 26, 2009, 03:15:01 AM
Oh, I know she's got a strange idea.  I told my friend who is a ballet teacher about it too (don't worry, they're not at her school!) and she said it's a very sad idea.  What she values most in the girls who've been doing ballet since they were young and are still coming is they've built up so much friendship and camaraderie, with people they don't go to school with or live near.  And she has had students go on to higher levels.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: hobish on September 26, 2009, 01:41:57 PM
My sister says, 'If it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly.'
Think about it...if you really enjoy an activity, why does it matter whether you're good at it? Kids do things just for the fun of it; I've never met a 4 year old who didn't like to color. But by the time they're 12, they've learned that if you aren't good at drawing, you shouldn't do it, even if you like doing it. That creation and performance are only for the stars.
Sad, when you really think about it. I love my sister's motto.

I love that attitude, too.

It kind of reminds me of an article i read a long time ago. The author pointed out that if you go into a kindergarden class and ask who can dance, who can sing, who can draw, who can paint they will all say yes. If you go into a college class and ask the same questions you won't get the same results, because they have learned by that time that if you can't do it well you can't (or shouldn't, as Jocelyn said) do it.

Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: RingTailedLemur on September 26, 2009, 02:43:58 PM
My sister says, 'If it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly.'
Think about it...if you really enjoy an activity, why does it matter whether you're good at it? Kids do things just for the fun of it; I've never met a 4 year old who didn't like to color. But by the time they're 12, they've learned that if you aren't good at drawing, you shouldn't do it, even if you like doing it. That creation and performance are only for the stars.
Sad, when you really think about it. I love my sister's motto.

I love that attitude, too.

It kind of reminds me of an article i read a long time ago. The author pointed out that if you go into a kindergarden class and ask who can dance, who can sing, who can draw, who can paint they will all say yes. If you go into a college class and ask the same questions you won't get the same results, because they have learned by that time that if you can't do it well you can't (or shouldn't, as Jocelyn said) do it.



Excellent point - maybe we should all indulge our "inner child" every now and then!

So how does this woman think you get to be good at ballet, unless you work at it for years anyway?
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: kisu on September 26, 2009, 02:57:27 PM
A family friend coaches ice hockey. He says that the players who are really good in their early teens rarely make it big, as they get too comfortable in their skills and stop practicing. The ones that aren't the stars of the team at 13 are much more likely to be big stars at 20, and the players who were stars at 13 will more likely have quit. Don't know if this applies to ballet, however...

Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Nurvingiel on September 26, 2009, 03:43:45 PM
So how does this woman think you get to be good at ballet, unless you work at it for years anyway?
This.

"How would they get to be good if they don't practice?"
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: JoW on September 26, 2009, 04:31:57 PM
Another thing the mother didn't consider - the teacher is not working for free.  She is being paid.  Her salary comes from the fees paid for the class.  The room has to be heated and maintenance has to be done.  None of that is free, it comes from the class fees.  So if all the kids who can't dance drop out that mother will have to pay a whole lot more for her kids to learn to dance. 

My mother sent me to dance classes, too, in a desperate attempt to make me not so clumsy.  I hated it.  I dropped out long before the recital.  And I'm still clumsy. 
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: LyanneB1 on September 27, 2009, 05:02:48 AM
So how does this woman think you get to be good at ballet, unless you work at it for years anyway?
This.

"How would they get to be good if they don't practice?"

Yes, that's it!  Just the simple yet inarguable response I needed for her - it will come up again, I'm sure.

A family friend coaches ice hockey. He says that the players who are really good in their early teens rarely make it big, as they get too comfortable in their skills and stop practicing. The ones that aren't the stars of the team at 13 are much more likely to be big stars at 20, and the players who were stars at 13 will more likely have quit. Don't know if this applies to ballet, however...

Mmm, I don't know enough about ballet either, but I can see the application to soccer.  DH's elder nephew has been playing since he was old enough to kick the ball straight, with his Dad & Grandad always having the idea he'll go professional.  (This was how the child was introduced to me.  He was then 6 years old.)  DH & I can see he is good, but at 14 he's not now significantly better than other boys who are still playing in the teams he plays in, even though they've not been playing since infancy.  Plus, because he's been pushed so much he has injuries...  I wouldn't take him on as a youth trainee because I can't see him being able to play for 90 minutes a game once or twice a week plus training without his joints playing up, because they do now.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: ginlyn32 on September 27, 2009, 10:54:09 AM
Too bad she has that attitude. What...she expects a three year old to be perfect? sheesh!

Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Emmy on September 27, 2009, 01:01:50 PM
I think that's a terrible attitude.  Does she feel that a child who isn't a genius in pre-school should not move onto kindergarten? 

What is important is that the child enjoys the activity.  Somebody else mentioned the other benefits of a ballet class such as exercise, balance, learning discipline, socialization, ect.  Even if a child isn't a natural talent, they will still learn and improve by taking the classes.  Unfortunately, as kids get older, many dance classes and sports become all about how well the activity is performed instead of enjoying playing or performing it.  Kids who aren't stars tend to drop out (or be cut) from teams and dance classes, thus losing all the other benefits of the sports or dance classes.  When I was a kid, my parents found this great gymnastics studio.  They were focused on fitness instead of just practicing for some performance (and charging the parents a fortune to see it).  I remember seeing improvements in my fitness.  For example, when I first started, I could not do a hip pull-up or even come close.  A few months later, I was doing them with ease.  It wasn't a competition with anyone else in the class (new students came in all the time, thus there were different levels), thus no 'stars' and everybody who stuck with it saw improvements and thus made the class more enjoyable.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: whiterose on September 27, 2009, 08:46:48 PM
I was not particularly good at ballet. Which you would never suspect today, given my posture and the way I pose for pictures.

I was also one of the heavier girls in my class. I had not hit puberty yet and the weight had not redistributed.

I cried often in ballet class. I am one of those ultra-competitive people who want to be the best in everything. So you bet I did not take the instructor's criticism well.

I switched from ballet to joining a gym closer to the house in order to get better exercise. But I still benefited from ballet.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Sabbyfrog2 on September 28, 2009, 12:19:22 PM
A family friend coaches ice hockey. He says that the players who are really good in their early teens rarely make it big, as they get too comfortable in their skills and stop practicing. The ones that aren't the stars of the team at 13 are much more likely to be big stars at 20, and the players who were stars at 13 will more likely have quit. Don't know if this applies to ballet, however...



Well of course it does. Practice practice practice makes perfect. I have seen the complacant attitude many times. The ones that start out already "good" seem to have a mindset that they don't need to work as hard, because they are already good, so they don't. The ones that aren't as skilled or naturally talented, have to work harder just to match the good ones. And then, work evern harder to keep it, and they usually go on to be the professionals because they have a much higher work ethic and never let their bodies get soft because they are always working to get better. I am not saying this is the way they all are, but in I have witnessed this numerous times.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Nurvingiel on September 28, 2009, 03:04:08 PM
A family friend coaches ice hockey. He says that the players who are really good in their early teens rarely make it big, as they get too comfortable in their skills and stop practicing. The ones that aren't the stars of the team at 13 are much more likely to be big stars at 20, and the players who were stars at 13 will more likely have quit. Don't know if this applies to ballet, however...

Well of course it does. Practice practice practice makes perfect. I have seen the complacant attitude many times. The ones that start out already "good" seem to have a mindset that they don't need to work as hard, because they are already good, so they don't. The ones that aren't as skilled or naturally talented, have to work harder just to match the good ones. And then, work evern harder to keep it, and they usually go on to be the professionals because they have a much higher work ethic and never let their bodies get soft because they are always working to get better. I am not saying this is the way they all are, but in I have witnessed this numerous times.
When Kyle Wellwood was put on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs, he had gone soft. His conditioning was poor, and people said he was as talented as he was lazy.

The Vancouver Canucks picked him up and he got his butt in gear. Now he's a top conditioned, hard-working, and very skilled centre.

I love Kyle Wellwood. I respect that he pulled himself together like this, and he shaped up. Plus, he is very, very good.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: flo on September 28, 2009, 03:16:47 PM
Well my 3 year old can fall down 3 times walking thirty feet.  How good would she really be at ballet?  But I am pretty sure taking classes would help her with muscle tone, paying attention, and be loads of fun. 
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: RegionMom on September 29, 2009, 08:48:27 AM
I was at a gymastics meet with mostly 9-12 year olds and there was one much taller and older girl who stood out, not so much because of her size, but because of her SMILE.  The other girls were competing, she was enjoying herself. 
And that made others smile. 
(her scores were not great, but even her family was happy and I liked sitting near them.)

I met a woman in her 60's who just started piano lessons a few months ago.  Her family could not afford it for her as a child, then she was busy as a mom herself, and finally decided to just do it now that she is old enought to realize it does not matte what others think.  And she is happy!!

Do it for the fun of it. 
I sometimes run 5ks and 10ks, and I will NEVER even make the 1st half, but enjoy it.  Shoudl I quit because I will never be at the top?


I REALLY like that story about asking kindergarteners vs. college age kids.  It makes me glad to consider myself a big kid. 

Virtual crayons and sports eqiupment for ALL!!

:)
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: flo on September 29, 2009, 01:57:10 PM
And any musical instrument you'd like, too!
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: KitFox on September 29, 2009, 02:13:31 PM
I've heard SS-type parents say things like that about whatever activity their little precious is in and doing well at. It seems to me that many of those kinds of parents feel that the slower, less talented, less attractive and therefore less worthwhile children are simply taking up space and holding Little Precious back from achieving his/her full potential, which is as we all know to make mommy and daddy look good. /sarcasm

My favorite approach has been to say "I feel the same way about golf*!" and just wait.

*Golf = anything the person speaking is terrible at but enjoys.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: RegionMom on September 29, 2009, 10:02:35 PM
re-moe--ack!  How did I miss the virtual instruments?  I play piano myself, and DS the trumpet! 
ACK!!  And children's choir! 
Let me toss in virtual craft items also, like yarn and paint, and whatever else anyone else enjoys doing.

let the inner child be unleashed!

:) :)  ;D
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: PaddedPaws on September 30, 2009, 02:05:53 PM
I'm glad I didn't have this mind set when I started taking singing lessons for the first time at age 23! I hardly ever sang at all before that. I will never be a performance level singer, but I that's not my goal. I have learned SO MUCH from singing lessons that applies to other parts of my life, from my health to how I relate to people.

It's a pity that some parents are so focussed on having their kids be "best" at something that their kids miss out on so many interesting life experiences.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: magiccat26 on September 30, 2009, 02:12:24 PM
I'm a 34 year old woman who's taking Ice Skating lessons  :o.  Am I good at it?  Oh heck no, but I'm having a blast.  I fall down less and less every time and it is really great exercise.  It's also really motivating my 6yo DD (who takes lessons at the same time...but in the kid class) to do well...because she sees that Mommy is willing to try new things and has a sense of humor about my own inadequacies.  (We compare notes at the end of class to see who fell down the least number of times  ;D....usually she wins!)

If we only ever do things that we're good at, how will we ever get good at anything?  I'll never be Michelle Kwan (sp?), but at least I'm having fun and getting exercise.  Now Kitten, on the other hand, look out Winter Olympics, here she comes!!!  ;)
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: M-theory on September 30, 2009, 06:12:45 PM
I'm a 34 year old woman who's taking Ice Skating lessons  :o.  Am I good at it?  Oh heck no, but I'm having a blast.  I fall down less and less every time and it is really great exercise.  It's also really motivating my 6yo DD (who takes lessons at the same time...but in the kid class) to do well...because she sees that Mommy is willing to try new things and has a sense of humor about my own inadequacies.  (We compare notes at the end of class to see who fell down the least number of times  ;D....usually she wins!)

If we only ever do things that we're good at, how will we ever get good at anything?  I'll never be Michelle Kwan (sp?), but at least I'm having fun and getting exercise.  Now Kitten, on the other hand, look out Winter Olympics, here she comes!!!  ;)

Can I just say that I think you're doing a wonderful thing? I can't imagine either of my parents taking piano lessons or Tae Kwon Do just so I'd feel encouraged. That's truly active parenting!
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: blue2000 on October 01, 2009, 12:32:04 AM
I'm a 34 year old woman who's taking Ice Skating lessons  :o.  Am I good at it?  Oh heck no, but I'm having a blast.  I fall down less and less every time and it is really great exercise.  It's also really motivating my 6yo DD (who takes lessons at the same time...but in the kid class) to do well...because she sees that Mommy is willing to try new things and has a sense of humor about my own inadequacies.  (We compare notes at the end of class to see who fell down the least number of times  ;D....usually she wins!)

If we only ever do things that we're good at, how will we ever get good at anything?  I'll never be Michelle Kwan (sp?), but at least I'm having fun and getting exercise.  Now Kitten, on the other hand, look out Winter Olympics, here she comes!!!  ;)

Can I just say that I think you're doing a wonderful thing? I can't imagine either of my parents taking piano lessons or Tae Kwon Do just so I'd feel encouraged. That's truly active parenting!


And an awesome life lesson - Mommy falls down when she is learning, just like little kids. She isn't perfect. But she can still have fun at it!

My niece (6 yrs old) takes dance lessons as well as some other things. Some people in the family, especially my mother, will go on and on about how good she is at everything. Because that is the important part, isn't it. ::) Not whether she is having fun, or even if she is learning new things. It's that she is GOOD.

I'm not keen on this to start with, as Niece has always been a little too worried about her performance. She doesn't need the adults around her reinforcing this. But now Niece's mom has mentioned that she has had anxiety attacks (at SIX) about not being perfect at something. They don't think it is a big deal (they do try to reassure her). The whole thing just makes me sad. :(
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: KittyBass on October 01, 2009, 12:53:12 AM
Goodness me, I tried a lot of things out when I was a kid. My mom might be a nasty piece of work these days but when  I was a little kid she was very supportive of me. I tried tap, jazz, ballet for 2 years when I was 5 and 6 but after the second year I decided I didn't like it, I tried soccer (stunk at that) piano (was good at that) horseback riding (was good at that), clarinet( was decent enough) irish dancing (was so-soo at that when I was a kid, but I got good as an adult) singing lessons (was ok) guitar (was lousy at that) bass guitar (was decent enough)

The thing is, my mother never pushed me into doing any one thing. If I liked it I stuck with it and I had fun, if I didn't, I would finish out my course/season and move on. I never cared if I was the best or brightest I just like doing different things . I'm still a dibbler and a dabbler and I know I will never be the ultimate anything but I couldn't care less, as long as I get enjoyment out of it, that's what matters. It's not like I ever had dreams of making a career out of hobbies.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: magiccat26 on October 01, 2009, 12:40:45 PM
I'm a 34 year old woman who's taking Ice Skating lessons  :o.  Am I good at it?  Oh heck no, but I'm having a blast.  I fall down less and less every time and it is really great exercise.  It's also really motivating my 6yo DD (who takes lessons at the same time...but in the kid class) to do well...because she sees that Mommy is willing to try new things and has a sense of humor about my own inadequacies.  (We compare notes at the end of class to see who fell down the least number of times  ;D....usually she wins!)

If we only ever do things that we're good at, how will we ever get good at anything?  I'll never be Michelle Kwan (sp?), but at least I'm having fun and getting exercise.  Now Kitten, on the other hand, look out Winter Olympics, here she comes!!!  ;)

Can I just say that I think you're doing a wonderful thing? I can't imagine either of my parents taking piano lessons or Tae Kwon Do just so I'd feel encouraged. That's truly active parenting!


And an awesome life lesson - Mommy falls down when she is learning, just like little kids. She isn't perfect. But she can still have fun at it!

My niece (6 yrs old) takes dance lessons as well as some other things. Some people in the family, especially my mother, will go on and on about how good she is at everything. Because that is the important part, isn't it. ::) Not whether she is having fun, or even if she is learning new things. It's that she is GOOD.

I'm not keen on this to start with, as Niece has always been a little too worried about her performance. She doesn't need the adults around her reinforcing this. But now Niece's mom has mentioned that she has had anxiety attacks (at SIX) about not being perfect at something. They don't think it is a big deal (they do try to reassure her). The whole thing just makes me sad. :(

One of the reasons I decided to take lessons at the same time was because Kitten was starting to get down on herself when she couldn't do something perfectly the first time.  I think it's tough for kids because they see the adults and older kids around them doing things well (bike riding, writing, reading) all the time and it looks "effortless" and they have to keep trying again and again to get it right.

It also really doesn't help if we as parents focus so strongly on "being good at it" and focusing on the skill (dance, soccer, whatever) rather than focusing on the fun and exercise aspect.  Children are impressionable in ways we cannot imagine.  The smallest comment resonates with them.  When we think we're being encouraging, "Oh honey, don't worry about missing the goal, it just takes practice to get really good!"...we could be sending a message of "You need more practice, you're not good, you missed the goal."
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: extranormal on October 03, 2009, 07:25:04 PM
I was recently chatting with someone whose daughters, 8 and 11, want to take ballet lessons. The mom is discouraging them because "they don't have the body type for it; they're both short and stocky." The mom wants them to take ice skating lessons, instead, because she thinks they're more physically suited for that.

But the girls don't want to skate. They want to take ballet. They're unlikely to be spectacular at either, so I don't understand why this woman won't let them participate in the activity they actually enjoy. "They just want to wear the sparkly costumes and dance at a recital," she said. I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from replying, "So?".
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: LyanneB1 on October 04, 2009, 04:13:15 AM
I was recently chatting with someone whose daughters, 8 and 11, want to take ballet lessons. The mom is discouraging them because "they don't have the body type for it; they're both short and stocky." The mom wants them to take ice skating lessons, instead, because she thinks they're more physically suited for that.

But the girls don't want to skate. They want to take ballet. They're unlikely to be spectacular at either, so I don't understand why this woman won't let them participate in the activity they actually enjoy. "They just want to wear the sparkly costumes and dance at a recital," she said. I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from replying, "So?".

I suppose if they've inherited her body shape, she may be projecting what happened to her onto them; still better for them to do ballet which they want to do and have fun and exercise, than to do ice skating for a short time then drop out because it's not what they wanted to do.  And if they did change their minds and want to do ice skating later, the physical control and posture learnt at ballet would stand them in good stead.

And re the sparkly dresses and recital, I doubt if Margot Fonteyn sat down and thought 'I'd like to practise for hours a day, put myself through pain by dancing en pointe, find it hard to socialise because I'll always be performing or practising - I know, I'll start ballet!'  The sparkly dresses and performances are the lure...
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: whiterose on October 04, 2009, 02:58:53 PM
I was recently chatting with someone whose daughters, 8 and 11, want to take ballet lessons. The mom is discouraging them because "they don't have the body type for it; they're both short and stocky." The mom wants them to take ice skating lessons, instead, because she thinks they're more physically suited for that.

But the girls don't want to skate. They want to take ballet. They're unlikely to be spectacular at either, so I don't understand why this woman won't let them participate in the activity they actually enjoy. "They just want to wear the sparkly costumes and dance at a recital," she said. I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from replying, "So?".

I suppose if they've inherited her body shape, she may be projecting what happened to her onto them; still better for them to do ballet which they want to do and have fun and exercise, than to do ice skating for a short time then drop out because it's not what they wanted to do.  And if they did change their minds and want to do ice skating later, the physical control and posture learnt at ballet would stand them in good stead.

And re the sparkly dresses and recital, I doubt if Margot Fonteyn sat down and thought 'I'd like to practise for hours a day, put myself through pain by dancing en pointe, find it hard to socialise because I'll always be performing or practising - I know, I'll start ballet!'  The sparkly dresses and performances are the lure...

Or on the contrary, they may have a different body shape than the mom does. But this would still be the mother's insecurity- mother is not pleased with the daughters being short and stocky (she wishes she were tall and lean like her, or at least average height/build like her) and she fears the daughters' bodies would embarrass her (the mother) in ballet class.

This may be an interesting assumption, but I have witnessed it happen.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: LizC on October 06, 2009, 01:47:21 AM
I seriously stunk at the cello... but I paid for my own lessons and instrument for three years, and enjoyed every minute of it. About halfway through the second year, my teacher, very gingerly, asked me how I felt my progress was coming along, and was I meeting my own goals? I assured her that I stunk at it, but was enjoying it tremendously, so if she didn't mind being paid to tolerate really bad playing, I'd like to keep working at it. She was relieved, and we kept going until I left for college 350 miles away.  (Turns out, I have a really small "wingspan", and not a lot of grip in my hands, so stringed instruments will always be challenging.)

It was actually a delight to have to WORK for things! I took ballet, too, even though I was a vastly imperfect body type for the discipline, and had no illusions about being a star, a professional, or even a small-town ballet teacher some day. I just wanted to dance. I never participated in a single recital (the studio didn't do them, though we could participate in stage performances of classical pieces on occasion).

The mom is absolutely off-base. Her children may have a gift for graceful dancing, but that doesn't mean other children shouldn't give it a whirl. Working hard and enjoying yourself are both worthy goals, alone.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: thebeckster on October 06, 2009, 08:19:14 AM
I also took piano lessons for over 10 years, and I still am not very good. However, I appreciate listening to good piano, and I believe it helped train my ear for all good music.

I think that all kinds of education includes teaching an appreciation of those who have mastered the art.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Reika on October 06, 2009, 03:56:49 PM
I took Tae Kwon Do for a year and a half, I'm overweight, have horrendous knees, but wanted to get some sort of self-discipline and heard good things about the school. Was I a natural? Perfect? Hardly. However I had an excellent master and hugely supportive fellow students of all ranks who didn't care about the fact I was anything but an athlete, but as my master kept saying, I had a lot of spirit, will and determination.

And I made it work. And it worked on me more than I realized in my attitude, outlook on life and how I dealt with stress.

By that mother's standards I shouldn't have bothered, and the first month my body wanted to die (I discovered muscles in places I didn't know I had them, that was...interesting) and agreed with her. But if you want it badly enough, or just having fun, you can do it. :)
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Nurvingiel on October 06, 2009, 04:00:19 PM
I took Tae Kwon Do for a year and a half, I'm overweight, have horrendous knees, but wanted to get some sort of self-discipline and heard good things about the school. Was I a natural? Perfect? Hardly. However I had an excellent master and hugely supportive fellow students of all ranks who didn't care about the fact I was anything but an athlete, but as my master kept saying, I had a lot of spirit, will and determination.
The bolded is what really matters in martial arts anyway. :)

And you know what? I think that could take someone pretty far in ballet too.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: M-theory on October 06, 2009, 09:41:52 PM
PSA: Parents, if you want to teach your children to have integrity and stick to things, do it before they're jaded adults.

I was in piano lessons and Tae Kwon Do as a child. I got frustrated easily then, as now, and quit both very quickly.

Now that I'm 26, my father fairly often bugs me about what he believes is my destiny to write the next great sci-fi novel. The basis for this is that he thinks my writing is "something special." I can't focus on anything long enough to get my daily to-do list done, much less write a novel.

In summary: Make some passing attempt to raise your children, or forever hold your peace.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: aka on October 06, 2009, 10:17:48 PM
I did 1 ballet class at the park district when I was 3, and I did not want to go back (or so I've been told).

I didn't take ballet again until my senior year of college. I am clumsy, quite fat, and very nonathletic... and you know what?  I loved it. I may have looked more like a hippo than a gazelle, but I enjoyed every minute.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Alex the Seal on October 07, 2009, 12:54:27 AM
I was recently chatting with someone whose daughters, 8 and 11, want to take ballet lessons. The mom is discouraging them because "they don't have the body type for it; they're both short and stocky." The mom wants them to take ice skating lessons, instead, because she thinks they're more physically suited for that.

But the girls don't want to skate. They want to take ballet. They're unlikely to be spectacular at either, so I don't understand why this woman won't let them participate in the activity they actually enjoy. "They just want to wear the sparkly costumes and dance at a recital," she said. I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from replying, "So?".

 :(

I desperately wanted to do ballet as a child, but my mother wouldn't let me because I was "too tall to be good at it"  :'(

(ended up very self-conscious about my height, and my body in general, thanks in part to such silly comments and assumptions)
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Bethalize on October 07, 2009, 03:50:50 AM
I seriously stunk at the cello... but I paid for my own lessons and instrument for three years,
[SNIP]
It was actually a delight to have to WORK for things!

Pod! I'm learning the trumpet for the same reason. I have an ambition to play trumpet in my orchestra. I'm a good amateur clarinetist but I get bored having to put the work in maintain a high standard. It's more fun to work to achieve something new.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: kitty-cat on October 07, 2009, 06:50:06 AM
I wanted to do gymnasics as a kid.  Part of that might have been watching the Olympics as an impressionable child... However, I was allowed to do both ballet and theatre as a kid.  I think that mom's excuse of "you're too tall" might have really meant "No, I don't have time or money to be taking you to another activity"

And I was really into theatre in high school- I couldn't continue with ballet because I had broken one ankle and my junior year I dislocated the other one.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Jocelyn on October 07, 2009, 01:16:58 PM

In summary: Make some passing attempt to raise your children, or forever hold your peace.

I once told my father that he'd had 21 years to instill his values in me, and that he should just give it up as a bad job.  :) He laughed, but he got the point.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Rockie on October 07, 2009, 04:16:00 PM
I took ballet for four years, but mom eventually pulled me out over my protests because according to her I wasn't improving.

I also wanted to do gymnastics (I'd love to be able to pull off those flips!) and judo, but was told no, it was too dangerous and in the case of judo that it was "only for boys"...yet she allowed me to take karate. Then again, she also liked to encourage me to do more "girly" activities like dance if I expressed how much I liked to do something like fencing or the aforementioned martial arts. ???
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Nurvingiel on October 08, 2009, 04:05:13 PM
I took ballet for four years, but mom eventually pulled me out over my protests because according to her I wasn't improving.

I also wanted to do gymnastics (I'd love to be able to pull off those flips!) and judo, but was told no, it was too dangerous and in the case of judo that it was "only for boys"...yet she allowed me to take karate. Then again, she also liked to encourage me to do more "girly" activities like dance if I expressed how much I liked to do something like fencing or the aforementioned martial arts. ???
Did you take karate? (Maybe she didn't let you take judo because you'd be grappling with all those boys  ::)).
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Rockie on October 08, 2009, 06:21:10 PM
I took ballet for four years, but mom eventually pulled me out over my protests because according to her I wasn't improving.

I also wanted to do gymnastics (I'd love to be able to pull off those flips!) and judo, but was told no, it was too dangerous and in the case of judo that it was "only for boys"...yet she allowed me to take karate. Then again, she also liked to encourage me to do more "girly" activities like dance if I expressed how much I liked to do something like fencing or the aforementioned martial arts. ???
Did you take karate? (Maybe she didn't let you take judo because you'd be grappling with all those boys  ::)).

Yes I did, long enough to earn a black belt. :D And the funny thing is? We did some grappling there too (though probably not as much as you'd do in judo). And yes, I think that might've been the reason. ::) I also had the chance to take other forms of martial arts later, which kind of makes up for that, I suppose.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Nurvingiel on October 08, 2009, 06:29:45 PM
I took ballet for four years, but mom eventually pulled me out over my protests because according to her I wasn't improving.

I also wanted to do gymnastics (I'd love to be able to pull off those flips!) and judo, but was told no, it was too dangerous and in the case of judo that it was "only for boys"...yet she allowed me to take karate. Then again, she also liked to encourage me to do more "girly" activities like dance if I expressed how much I liked to do something like fencing or the aforementioned martial arts. ???
Did you take karate? (Maybe she didn't let you take judo because you'd be grappling with all those boys  ::)).

Yes I did, long enough to earn a black belt. :D And the funny thing is? We did some grappling there too (though probably not as much as you'd do in judo). And yes, I think that might've been the reason. ::) I also had the chance to take other forms of martial arts later, which kind of makes up for that, I suppose.
That's great! Yeah, I was thinking about all the throws and stuff in karate. Maybe that's not why she didn't want you to take judo. Seems a bit silly to say that a martial art is "only for boys". ???
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: kherbert05 on October 18, 2009, 06:05:21 PM
Just some observations. I teach G&T and Inclusion classes. One thing I tell my G&T kids is you are always getting 100's the first time we do something then we are wasting your time and my time. If you stay in your safe zone - you will never learn or achieve anything worth mentioning. Some of them find it very hard to do something if they can't do it perfect the 1st time.

I had a parent not want their in the inclusion tested because he was smart just not trying. He thought an LD diagnoses would be an excuse. I told him how freeing my diagnoses was. Before I thought there was no point in trying to improve my spelling and handwriting because everyone said I was being lazy. I knew there was a disconnect, but since I couldn't go from zero to 60 there was no point trying.

After the diagnoses there was a reason I had a problem - and solutions that had never been offered when I was "lazy". Now small improvements were ok - not proof I hadn't been trying. One night a sat down at the computer with a list of sight words - you know the words they make you memorize the spelling of in 1st and 2nd because they don't follow phonics rules. I typed them 20 times each - muscle memory kicked in and I got them after 13 years of trying in school (I was diagnosed freshman year of University) I learned to spell Their ball and Neighbor.

My parents would have ripped apart anyone who said what the woman said in the OP. I took dance, gymnastics, and other individual type classes.  Carefully research by my parents so that the schools/classes were for fun. They knew I had a coordination problem, so I had these no pressure classes and some PT. They even had me tested in elementary school - but I read on a HS level so I couldn't have an LD.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Onyx_TKD on October 24, 2009, 10:31:07 AM
I took ballet for four years, but mom eventually pulled me out over my protests because according to her I wasn't improving.

I also wanted to do gymnastics (I'd love to be able to pull off those flips!) and judo, but was told no, it was too dangerous and in the case of judo that it was "only for boys"...yet she allowed me to take karate. Then again, she also liked to encourage me to do more "girly" activities like dance if I expressed how much I liked to do something like fencing or the aforementioned martial arts. ???
Did you take karate? (Maybe she didn't let you take judo because you'd be grappling with all those boys  ::)).

Yes I did, long enough to earn a black belt. :D And the funny thing is? We did some grappling there too (though probably not as much as you'd do in judo). And yes, I think that might've been the reason. ::) I also had the chance to take other forms of martial arts later, which kind of makes up for that, I suppose.

Off Topic, in defense of Rockie's mother; post continues on topic afterwards.  ;)
I did Tae Kwon Do and also tried a few Judo classes (liked it, but didn't have time to do both). In TKD, we practiced throws a decent amount, but it was generally part of the self-defense part of the class (i.e. not really classic/traditional Tae Kwon Do, just good techniques to know). Judo was a whole different story. As in "I just met these guys 15 min. ago, and now we're jumping over each other leap frog style/crawling between each others legs during the warm-up, followed by rolling around on the floor grappling with them for another hour or so." One of the fighting positions we used a lot during those few classes involved one fighter (on their back on the ground) holding the other off by wrapping both legs snugly around the other fighters waist; many techniques also involved grabbing the lapels/collar of the opponent's uniform/shirt (chest/breast area) and using them as a point to pull on or hold the opponent.

Like I said, it was really fun, but even as a college student who was already used to getting "up close and personal" with my martial arts classmates, it felt a little awkward at first. I can see how a mother (or father) could be understandably leery of her daughter practicing judo with a class full of boys, especially if she wasn't really certain that her daughter would be assertive about cutting off any inappropriate contact. Judo practice kind of blurs the line of what is "appropriate touching," which might make it harder for a kid to know when to object. I was an adult when I tried it; if any of the guys had made inappropriate comments/tried to grope me/etc., I would have had no problem telling him off, refusing to practice with him again, telling the instructor, or whatever other action was needed. A kid might not be that assertive.

That said, it still doesn't make judo "only for boys." Nor am I arguing that girls shouldn't join judo classes with boys, just that there might be some justifiable parental worries.

Back on Topic:
One of my university friends started a small bellydance club, and I later continued taking it in an official class. Based on my experience and seeing the other students, bellydance is one of those activities where almost everyone is going to feel like they stink at it at first. You get asked to isolate and exercise muscles you didn't even know you had, and once you get enough of the moves down, you start layering them (doing different moves at the same time), at which point even the moves you could do well start falling apart again. If everyone dropped out when the didn't think they were dancing well, I bet there would be very, very few bellydancers.

One of the students in our first little bellydance group was the instructor for the judo club. An older, stocky, muscular man who practiced with us in his judo uniform (complete with black belt). Was he naturally brilliant at bellydance? No, but he stuck with us until our teacher moved away and the club ended. The rest of us loved having him in the class. There's something incredibly sweet about seeing this tough martial arts instructor in his gi and black belt very intently watching himself in the mirror as he tries to make his hips move the right way. Especially since he was so obviously having fun. Sadly, he didn't try to join the official bellydance class that got started, because "the other [young, female] students might get the wrong idea."
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Sharnita on November 15, 2009, 03:53:31 PM
This makes me laugh.  My mom had a son and 3 girls.  I am the oldest and my sisters are 6 and 8 years younger than me.  I was in ballet when I was about 5.  My mom didn't keep me in it after that.  Years later when I was about 20 we were talking about my sister being in ballet (and other dance).  I asked why my mom talk me out.  She explained that I hadn't been very good at it and that I didn't practice.  I was stunned.  A few months later we went to see my sister's recital and, of course, saw the little kids perform.  It was like an epiphany!  Afterwards she said to me "None of them were very good! They all danced just like you used to."  I think the problem was that there was a child who was very good in my class and even at age 5 she stood out.  her mom told my mom that she practiced all the time.  Somehow my mom assumed that was the norm for 5 year olds in ballet.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Nurvingiel on November 15, 2009, 04:21:07 PM
Maybe she thought you didn't like it since you didn't practice?

This is from someone who hardly practiced the piano, so I'm not judging. :)
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: blue2000 on November 16, 2009, 12:46:43 PM
My mother complained that I didn't practice. It seemed to take a lot of effort to for me to 'get' the music. She thought I wasn't trying hard enough.

Turns out I'm musically dyslexic. I CAN play the piano, but only by ear, not by sight. Go figure. And if I had listened to Mother, I'd have quit back then, and wouldn't have the pleasure of playing and writing my own music.

I say let the kids do it if they want. That clunker in the dance group may grow up to be the adult dancing around the house with their baby and having a blast.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: whiterose on November 16, 2009, 02:35:47 PM
My mother complained that I didn't practice. It seemed to take a lot of effort to for me to 'get' the music. She thought I wasn't trying hard enough.

Turns out I'm musically dyslexic. I CAN play the piano, but only by ear, not by sight. Go figure. And if I had listened to Mother, I'd have quit back then, and wouldn't have the pleasure of playing and writing my own music.

I say let the kids do it if they want. That clunker in the dance group may grow up to be the adult dancing around the house with their baby and having a blast.

The person I went out yesterday may have been musically dyslexic as well. He tried playing various instruments, but he said he lack the intuitive ability to read the music/get the notes. I had never heard about this till he told me- but now I have ran across a second person.

That's all right. I completely and totally lack the ability to manage behavior. Discipline just does not come naturally to me. And sadly, people notice that some "logical" or "common sense" things are not my strength either- and let me know in a not nice at all way.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Switcher on November 16, 2009, 05:43:37 PM
Very few kids start out with natural talents in any area. They LEARN skills by doing them. I really doubt that broadway dancers came out of the womb doing pirouettes.
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: LyanneB1 on November 17, 2009, 12:48:45 AM
This makes me laugh.  My mom had a son and 3 girls.  I am the oldest and my sisters are 6 and 8 years younger than me.  I was in ballet when I was about 5.  My mom didn't keep me in it after that.  Years later when I was about 20 we were talking about my sister being in ballet (and other dance).  I asked why my mom talk me out.  She explained that I hadn't been very good at it and that I didn't practice.  I was stunned.  A few months later we went to see my sister's recital and, of course, saw the little kids perform.  It was like an epiphany!  Afterwards she said to me "None of them were very good! They all danced just like you used to."  I think the problem was that there was a child who was very good in my class and even at age 5 she stood out.  her mom told my mom that she practiced all the time.  Somehow my mom assumed that was the norm for 5 year olds in ballet.

I bet her mom made her practice.  Sharnita, that's so sad, and it's the sort of thing the mum I was talking to in the original post would advocate doing.   :(
Title: Re: Children should only do ballet if they're good at it
Post by: Sharnita on November 18, 2009, 03:33:52 PM
It makes me laugh now.  I don't think mom really realized how funny/silly/bad most little kids look trying to dance at that age.  I was pretty bad - we found out a few years ago that I and two of my siblings have a medical condition that can make coordination and motor skills very difficult.  My attempts at ballet were funny but my attempts at making lay-ups in basketball were both funny and pathetic.